Party Planning Tips

Make Planning Half the Fun with a Timeline to Guide You

Maybe you’re the party-planning type. Maybe you’re not. Either way, we’ve put together a birthday party checklist that’s so easy to get everything done it’s fun. First birthday, fifth birthday, second or sixth? Chuck E. Cheese’s has got you covered.

What to Do 4 Weeks Before

Girl with balloons

Pick a Theme

The countdown to your child’s birthday has begun. Chances are, if your little one is old enough, they’ve got it marked down to the day. Put their excitement to good use and have them help you choose a theme for your party. For inspiration, check out our birthday party themes for kids. Having hosted thousands of children’s parties, we know what birthday themes children love—from movie and television shows, to animals and automobiles, to princesses and pop stars. Remember, the best birthday party is one that your kid adores and gets everyone else excited, and the right birthday theme party is the perfect start! 

Girl with balloons
Kids around a table with balloons in the background

Plan Your Guest List

Knowing what type of birthday bash you want to organize can help you with choosing a location that accommodates your party size. Is your party going to be a family party, a friends party or both? We find it helpful to put together an actual list so you can get an accurate count. If your child is of school age, you have to consider that some schools encourage you to be inclusive and invite all of your child’s classmates to the party. 

Employee bringing kids pizza

Set a Date & Time

If your kid’s birthday falls on a weekday, it might be easier to choose a weekend to have the party. Check your calendar to see what else your family has going on. If the birthday boy or girl can’t celebrate their special day without their closest friends, it’s probably best to chat with their parents before you set a day and time in stone. Even think about offering those closest to you with a couple options to pick from.

Employee bringing kids pizza
Outside view of Chuck E. Cheese

Book a Venue

Second to the theme, this is probably the next most important thing on your birthday planning list. You either choose to host the party at your house or another location like a park, family restaurant or fun center. As the Birthday Capital of the Universe™, we know how to throw a bash that’ll have both you and your child smiling ear to ear. Book your party today!

Invitations

Send Out Invites

Be sure everyone you want there to celebrate has the party on their calendars. While you can head to a party store or make your own invitations, we have online birthday invitations that are simple to email or text to your whole guest list and receive RSVPs. Our invitation system makes it easy on you with groups that link birthday guests to one another and automatic reminders—and it makes it easy on attendees with a message board where they can coordinate carpooling and other details.   

Invitations

What to Do 2 Weeks Before

Pizza being picked up

Choose the Party Food

Picking out a meal for the birthday bash doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider what the birthday boy or girl’s favorite foods are and build on that. If you have the party at a birthday venue, they’ll likely have a kid-friendly menu for you to select from. All our birthday party packages come with children’s favorite—pizza! You can also add on additional birthday party food, like appetizers, salads, sandwiches and wraps. 

Cake with sprinkles

Select a Cake

No birthday party is complete without a cake! Your child’s cake is a perfect opportunity to incorporate the birthday themes you’ve chosen. Since your local bakery can get busy with orders, make sure you give them ample time to design a cake. If you’d prefer, Chuck E. Cheese’s offers birthday cakes in chocolate or vanilla quarter sheet cakes or 8” round cakes that you can add edible images of licensed characters to. Whatever you want to do, it works for us. Plus, you’re welcome to bring toppers and candles so your child can make a proper birthday wish. 

Cake with sprinkles
Goody bag contents

Arrange for Birthday Goody Bags

As a token of appreciation for attending your little one’s special day, it’s customary to provide attendees with a favor. Like we have to tell you! Want themed kids birthday party bags? Check a party supply store. Want to create your own birthday bags? Find DIY ideas on sites like Pinterest and Etsy. If you don’t have the time or budget for fancy favors, don’t worry. Kids who attend a Chuck E. Cheese’s party won’t go without. Our Mega Super Star package comes with birthday party favor bags—in addition to any prizes won from playing games. You can also add goody bags to other party packages to create the perfect party. Talk about goodies!

Chuck E. balloon

Get Decorations & Costumes

Turn your birthday venue into one that screams fun with exciting decorations that bring your theme to life. It be could as simple as picking out pink birthday party decorations like a tablecloth, streamers and matching plates. Or, it could be asking guests to sport their favorite Batman or Avengers costume for a superhero party. If you’re joining us at Chuck E. Cheese’s, your party coordinator can help you plan the setup as well as provide balloons. 

Chuck E. balloon

What to Do 1 Week Before

Three kids playing arcade game

Organize Birthday Games & Activities

Without activities to keep kids busy, birthday parties can become chaotic and children can get restless. Keep their attention and interest with several classic kids birthday party games, from Pin the Tail on the Donkey to Twister to Charades. Games and activities will be the least of your worries at our family fun center. We have loads of games throughout the restaurant that are even grouped together based on age ranges, so that kids can find birthday party games they love and that you feel good about them playing. 

Stuffed toys on wall

Picking the Perfect Present

You want to get a birthday gift you know the birthday girl or boy will really enjoy. If it’s a present for your little one, you’re probably not short on ideas. But if you’re attending someone else’s birthday gathering, try choosing a gift that’s related to the theme of the party or a favorite toy or activity of your child’s. Kids of the same age often share the same interests. Still at a loss? Ask the birthday child’s parents for ideas. Hint: Having a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s is a fantastic gift by itself!

Stuffed toys on wall

What to Do on the Big Day

Chuck E. visiting with kids at table

Plan Entertainment & Prizes

At Chuck E. Cheese’s, we leave the best entertainment to Chuck E. and the gang, who are sure to deliver the performance of a lifetime knowing your party’s in the crowd. Plus, all our games offer kids the opportunity to win prizes, lots of them!

Employee cutting cake for kids

Get Extra Hands to Help

With your birthday guests running all over the place, you’ll want to have assistance the day of the party. And you can never have too much help! Your spouse or grandparents are a good start for parties you’re planning. If you choose to party with us, we have all the assistance you could need. We offer Kid Check® so that everyone in your group that comes together, leaves together. We also have party coordinators, designated servers, a clean-up crew, and other staff members available for you. 

Employee cutting cake for kids

After All the Fun

Thank you note

Don’t Forget Thank You Notes

Make sure you show appreciation for those who joined you for your child’s special day. Whether it’s thanking attendees for being with you to celebrate or for the awesome gifts they brought, sending thank you notes goes a long way. Older kids can even help you complete cards, while remembering all the fun they had on their birthday!